"Second, there are so many magical places in books that you can't go to, like Hogwarts and Middle Earth, so I wanted to set a story in a place where children can actually go." -- Cornelia Funke
Cornelia Funke (pronounced , FOON-ka) is a multiple award-winning German author of children's fiction. She was born on 10 December 1958, in Dorsten, North Rhine-Westphalia. Funke is best known for her Inkworld trilogy, with the English translation of the third book, Inkdeath, released on 6 October 2008. Many of her books have now been translated into English. Her work fits mainly into the fantasy and adventure genres. She currently lives in Los Angeles, California.
Funke has sold over 10 million copies of her books worldwide.
"A library book, I imagine, is a happy book.""And I always read the English translation and always have conversations with my translator, for example about the names. I always have to approve it.""And I plan to write a sequel to Dragon Rider.""And my father always took me to the library. We were both book addicts.""Every German child learns to speak English in school.""Every reader knows about the feeling that characters in books seem more real than real people.""Everything gets to me. I'm very sentimental.""I always thought it hadn't influenced me very much, but I heard from many people from England that many motives from German fairytales are to be found in my books.""I always wanted to ride a dragon myself, so I decided to do this for a year in my imagination.""I don't like to eat the same dish every day, so I read very different things.""I have two Iceland horses, a very hairy dog called Looney, and a guinea pig.""I just did a picture book called The Wildest Brother on Earth, and you will find both of my children in there.""I like a composer called Henry Purcell, and I love to listen to Neil Young.""I like to visit my horse, have a walk with my dog.""I live in Hamburg; that's in the north. And I live on the outskirts of town. It looks like countryside.""I love to read aloud.""I love to read, I love to watch movies, and I love to be with my children.""I will try to write books until I drop dead.""I wish I had more time to visit schools.""If I was a book, I would like to be a library book, so I would be taken home by all different sorts of kids.""My daughter, Anna, is almost 15, and my son, Ben, is almost 10.""My grandmother told stories; she was very good at that.""My son always says I like very weird music.""Oh, I think every author is inspired by all of the books that she reads.""There are not so many mythical creatures from Inkheart.""They are shooting The Thief Lord in Venice at the moment.""Yes, I always imagined living in other places."
Cornelia Funke was born in 1958 in the town of Dorsten in Westphalia, Germany to Karl-Heinz and Helmi Funke. As a child, she wanted to become an astronaut and or a pilot, but then decided to study pedagogy at the University of Hamburg. After finishing her studies, Funke worked for three years as a social worker. During her social work she focused on working with children who came from deprived backgrounds. She had a stint illustrating books, but soon began writing her own stories, inspired by the sorts of stories that had appealed to the deprived children she had worked with. During the late 1980s and the 1990s, Funke established herself in Germany with two children's series, namely the fantasy-oriented Gespensterjäger (Ghosthunters) and the Wilde Hühner (Wild Chicks) line of books. Funke has been called "the J. K. Rowling" of Germany; although she was highly successful in Germany, Americans were not introduced to her work until 2002 when Herr der Diebe was translated from German to English. It was subsequently released as The Thief Lord by Scholastic and made it to the number 2 spot on The New York Times Best Seller list. The fantasy novel Dragon Rider (1996) stayed on the New York Times Best Seller list for 78 weeks. Following the success of The Thief Lord and Dragon Rider, her next novel was Inkheart (2003), which won the 2004 BookSense Book of the Year Children's Literature award. Inkheart was the first part of a trilogy which was continued with Inkspell (2005), which won Funke her second BookSense Book of the Year Children's Literature award (2006). The trilogy was concluded in Inkdeath (published in Germany in 2007, English version Spring 2008, American version Fall 2008).
On her personal homepage, Funke states that the vital starting point for a good book is an "idea", and if that idea is worth it, to research on interesting topics which support the idea, and to search for appropriate places and characters. She said of ideas that "they come from everywhere and nowhere, from outside and inside. I have so many, I won't be able to write them down in one lifetime." The characters, Cornelia Funke elaborates, "Mostly they step into my writing room and are so much alive, that I ask myself, where did they come from. Of course, some of them are the result of hard thinking, adding characteristics, manners, etc., but others are alive from the first moment they appear", and pointed out that Dustfinger from "Inkheart" was one of the most vivid characters who ever popped into her mind. For aspiring authors, Funke says: "Read — and be curious. And if somebody says to you: 'Things are this way. You can't change it' - don't believe a word."
Funke married printer Rolf Funke in 1981. They have two children, Anna (b. 1989) and Ben (b. 1994). For the next 24 years, the Funke family lived in Hamburg, before they moved to Los Angeles in May 2005. In March 2006 Funke lost her husband to cancer.
1998 Kalbacher Klapperschlange for Drachenreiter (Dragon Rider)
2000 Wildweibchenpreis for her collected works
2000 La vache qui lit for Herr der Diebe (The Thief Lord)
2001 Kalbacher Klapperschlange for Herr der Diebe
2001 Preis der Jury der jungen Leser for Herr der Diebe
2002 Evangelischer Buchpreis for Herr der Diebe
2003 Corine for Herr der Diebe
2003 Mildred L. Batchelder Award for Herr der Diebe
2003 Nordstemmer Zuckerrübe for Kleiner Werwolf
2004 Preis der Jury der jungen Leser for Tintenherz (Inkheart)
2004 Phantastik-Preis der Stadt Wetzlar for Tintenherz
2004 Kalbacher Klapperschlange for Tintenherz
2004 Book Sense Children's Literature Award (Children's Literature Honor Books) for Inkheart
2006 Book Sense Book of the Year Children's Literature Winner for Inkspell
2008 Roswitha Prize
Cornelia Funke was voted into the Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people of 2005. In 2006, Funke was awarded the Sakura Medal by the International Students of Japan in the Chapter Book category for her successful book, Dragon Rider.